Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much to all of you for coming. This is a very important issue for our committee to discuss because of the words that Lilian—if I may call you Lilian—used, “rescue our democracy”. The idea of rescuing a democracy is part of this committee's role. How do we see Canada? Where does Canada fit in with this?
Part of it for us is that we have to understand the past so that when we're rescuing a democracy we don't want to take it back to where it was before, in my respectful observation. You're trying to evolve, you're trying to build a democracy, and build something better than what has ever been in your history.
In all due respect, I cannot look on any point in the history of that beautiful country and not say, “I want to fight to get this back. I want to see improvement.”
What I'd like to hear from you is some of the intellectual argument we can use within the OAS, even, about enhancing and building your democracy. One thing I want to ask you about is this idea. It goes along with my colleague's question about paramilitary. The military role is very hard to understand in countries like ours because there isn't a military role in government or in our court system. How could we advocate or advance...? What do you think needs to happen? I ask because I'm assuming that those arguments were brought to the Maduro government. How did these protests and disagreements escalate into the volatility there now? We have to be able to figure out how we can help you. You're in this crisis and we have to help you come out of it stronger and better.
Help us understand what the role of the military court is now. There was a proposal that I have read about, about a constitutional military assembly that would include representation from the armed forces and workers. Is that issue right now something that we can help advocate for in the OAS? Maybe you see there's a more direct way we can do that.
As a committee we make recommendations, so we have to be able to be helpful and constructive.
Maybe Mr. Cotler will have some observations for us as well on how we can help move forward and gain a better, broader understanding of what this military role is right now, which obviously needs to modified or maybe even expunged.